The Secret History meets Sharp Objects in this stunning debut about murder and glamour set in the ambiguous and claustrophobic world of an exclusive New England prep school.
Death sets the plot in motion: the murder of Nica Baker, beautiful, wild, enigmatic, and only sixteen. The crime is solved, and quickly—a lonely classmate, unrequited love, a suicide note confession—but memory and instinct won’t allow Nica’s older sister, Grace, to accept the case as closed.
Dropping out of college and living at home, working at the moneyed and progressive private high school in Hartford, Connecticut, from which she recently graduated, Grace becomes increasingly obsessed with identifying and punishing the real killer.
Compulsively readable, Lili Anolik’s debut novel combines the verbal dexterity of Marisha Pessl’s Special Topic in Calamity Physics and the haunting atmospherics and hairpin plot twists of Megan Abbott’s Dare Me.
The bullet that snuffs out the life of 16-year-old wild child Nica Baker hits her family like a hollow-point, especially psychologically enmeshed big sister Grace, in this suspenseful, sad, and shattering first novel from Vanity Fair contributing editor Anolik. Only a year older, and the yang to Nica's yin, good girl Grace had been relying on her sister's charisma and cool to smooth Grace's way through the emotional minefields of Chandler Academy, the precious Hartford, Conn., private school where their parents both teach. In fact, Grace just can't let Nica go, repeatedly seeing, hearing, and talking with her during the grief-swamped, drug-muddled months that follow. When a fellow student's suicide-confession officially closes the case, Grace doesn't buy it. Deferring her enrollment at Williams, she sifts through the wreckage of their lives, ostensibly to figure out who really killed Nica, but, even more crucially, to find herself. As she starts to penetrate the myriad lies and secrets, the picture that emerges is far from pretty, with a lengthy list of suspects. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, Anolik's debut will haunt you.
Good writing, familiar plot
Dark Rooms is quite well-written, with a main character who has a fascinating interiority. Still, there are many plot points that reminded me very strongly--as in, they were basically the same, with some differences--to the first season of Veronica Mars. Perhaps the author's next novel will not have such a derivative plot.
Worth the price
Couldn't put this book down! It was a great read! Hate spending $14 on a book, But this one was worth the price!
Boing and slow moving. Unlikeable lead character. Kept waiting for it to get better but it didn't. Ending was lame.